Carnegie Museum of Natural History Awarded Accreditation from the American Association of Museums
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM). AAM accreditation is the highest recognition a museum can achieve in the United States. It officially signifies an institution’s excellence to the public, governments, funders, outside agencies, and other museums and is an endorsement from one’s peers. AAM praise highlighted Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s outstanding research and public programs, research and collections-based exhibition and educational programming, and distance learning program for K–12 students focused on biodiversity, dinosaurs, and cultural diversity.
“AAM accreditation asks a museum to take a deep look at itself and its programs. The process is thorough and comprehensive. We used this as an opportunity to evaluate Carnegie Museum of Natural History as an institution and to ensure that our research, collections, and programs meet or exceed national-level standards,” says Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History Samuel Taylor, PhD.
Of the nation’s approximately 17,500 museums, only 775 (less than 5%) are currently accredited. Carnegie Museum of Natural History joins a group of fewer than fifty accredited museums that identify themselves as natural history museums.
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, reviews and evaluates the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years.
“Accreditation assures the people of Pittsburgh that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. “As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”
AAM Accreditation is the museum field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability, and provides national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s Museum Accreditation program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and to provide the best possible service to the public.
To maintain accreditation, Carnegie Museum of Natural History has to sustain its current operations at the high standards AAM demands, as well as respond to and incorporate advances in technology and knowledge in the museum industry. The next accreditation review occurs in 2017.
American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website, www.carnegiemnh.org.